Courses dealing mainly with international relations, imperialism, foreign policy, war and peace....

This course will examine the possibility, desirability, and feasibility of abolishing the institution of war, examining arguments for the desirability and necessity of war, considering possible costs and benefits of war, and weighing alternative strategies for advancing the cause of reduction and abolition. Under review will be historic, recent, and current examples of war and war propaganda from various parts of the world. David Swanson will provide text and video each week, engage in discussion with students, answer any questions, and provide feedback on writing by students each week. Students are encouraged to bring any and all examples and arguments to the discussion. Here is an outline of the arguments that Swanson will be advancing each week:

Week One: War is not universal, inevitable, necessary, or beneficial. It can be ended.
Week Two: War is immoral.
Week Three: War endangers.
Week Four: War destroys nature.
Week Five: War destroys freedom.
Week Six: War impoverishes and wastes.
Week Seven: There are alternatives to war.
Week Eight: War will not go away unless we make it.
Students are encouraged to review the website of an organization that Swanson directs: World Beyond War and to read either or both of these books: War Is A Lie, and War No More: The Case for Abolition. (Note that sales of War Is A Lie will cease for the winter of 2015-2016, prior to a Spring publication of an updated Second Edition by Just World Books.)

Is the human rights framework relevant to organizing for a new society today? Grassroots struggles using the language of human rights can be seen as democratising, decentralising movements that challenge the very authority of states as primary social actors responsible for granting us a basic, dignified quality of life. In winning short term improvements in the lives of people today, through struggle, we might hope to build deeper and larger movements which challenge current constructs of power, experimenting imaginatively with the creation of autonomous democratic pre-figurative spaces that embody new structures and relationships along the way. The language contained within international documents can be discursive tools (whether or not states have signed up to the documents or comply with them) portraying concepts of social justice, but it is also necessary to move beyond them. In pursuit of a social and international order in which 'rights' or needs and freedoms can be fully realized "every person must be an artist in this realm of social sculpture, social art or social architecture" (Beuys). Indeed, realizing human rights in the wake of crisis and austerity is tied to the construction of a different kind of society altogether. This requires imagination, which states--as stakeholders in the existing society--have failed to develop. But we might develop this social imagination collectively from below.